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Weddings · June 11, 2015

How I Learned to Not Go Broke During Wedding Season

If youre like me, the news of a friends engagement results in a wave of mixed feelings: First, obviously a flurry of joy and excitement, followed by the inevitable stress-induced vision of my ever-depleting bank account. Even if youre not in the wedding party (which can run you close to $2,000), attending more than a couple weddings in one season (and shelling out for the requisite travel, hotel room, dress, and gift) can really do a number on your wallet. But witnessing all those I dos doesnt have to end in debtmy advice for surviving wedding season without going broke:

RSVP Wisely

If theres one thing Ive learned after a few wedding-stuffed summers its this: Sometimes, its okay to say no. While youd obviously never skip your sisters or BFFs wedding, there is a way to politely decline an old coworker or loose acquaintances nuptialsespecially if you know attending will put you in a stressful financial situation. Just be sure to send a nice gift and personal note of congratulations in your placeyour friend will understand.

Plan Ahead

In an ideal world, youd budget months in advance so that by the time you book accommodations, your balance will barely budge. Also make an effort to book flights and hotels as early as possible to get affordable rateswaiting until the last minute is the difference between a $250 and $350 flightand having to stay at a different hotel from everyone else. I unfortunately know this from experience.

Buddy Up

Split your costs in half by synching up with fellow wedding guests to share a hotel room, or, if you have a big group, an Airbnb rental. Not only will your digs be less expensive, but most rentals come with kitchens and living rooms so you can cook your own meals and hang out long after the reception ends. Last winter I shared a cheap, no-frills hotel room with three of my best friends for a wedding. Sharing a bed with someone who hogs the covers doesnt result in the most comfortable nights sleep, but you that you will not regret blasting top 40 hits and getting ready together with your favorite ladies.

Re-wear, Rent, or Borrow a Dress

Repeat after me: I do not need to buy a new dress. Instead, recycle an outfit you wore to a wedding with different guests last summer or something new to you from a friend I always shop my stylish pals closets for dresses, bags, and shoes before I even think about shopping. If its a black tie affair, dont feel pressure to buy an expensive get-up. Pay a fraction of the regular price for a high-end frock from our friends at Rent the Runway.

Be Your Own Makeup Artist/ Manicurist/ Hairstylist

If youre great at fishtail braids but cant paint your non-dominant hand to save your life, only book a nail appointment to save some cash. As a bridesmaid last winter, I painted my own nails and had a friend help me style my hair, then had the pro makeup artist help me touch up my look by filling out my brows and concealing the dark circles I got from waking up at 6am to get ready.


Maura M. Lynch

Burt's Bees addict. Watches way too much TV. Has never turned down a french fry.